PhD students win places on Dean’s List

18 August 2011

Business School PhD students Helen Nicholson and Hamish Macalister have earned the highest recommendation for their PhD theses with sought-after places on the Dean's List.

The Dean’s List award is given to a select few recipients each year from the large number of doctoral students completing their studies across the University.

As part of her PhD in the Department of Management and International Business, Helen did a qualitative study of an 18-month leadership development programme in New Zealand.

“Based on this research, my PhD thesis offers a novel theorisation of how leaders in these programmes work upon their identity. I explore a process called ‘identity undoing’, which captures the deconstruction, unravelling, destabilising, letting go, and loss that can be experienced in the pursuit of work upon one’s self. This stands in stark contrast to leadership development practice and theory which often assumes leaders mainly build, enhance, strengthen, and grow their sense of self,” she says.

“Getting a place on the Dean’s List was an absolute surprise and a real honour. I see it as primarily a wonderful acknowledgment of how superb my supervisors Professor Brad Jackson and Dr Brigid Carroll have been in supporting me to create a commendable thesis. I’m very grateful that the Dean has recognised the importance of qualitative research in advancing knowledge.

Helen has just left for Sweden to take up a position as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Lund University, where she will work with acclaimed scholars who produce cutting edge leadership and identity research.

“As part of this post-doc I’m working on a collaborative project between Lund University and the New Zealand Leadership Institute here at the Business School. I’ll also be doing some teaching at Copenhagen Business School.”

Hamish researched the relationships between the earnings forecasts of United States security analysts and the macroeconomy.

“For example, I found evidence of information in aggregated analysts’ forecasts for the future economy. Essentially, you can employ aggregated analysts’ forecasts of earnings for US firms to help forecast future US macroeconomic activity,” Hamish says.

“Conversely, I found that analysts make a range of systematic mistakes regarding their interpretation of the implications of the current economic environment for future earnings. As a result, I found an astonishingly high level of predictability of analysts’ earnings revisions up to a year ahead of time, with further implications for return predictability.

“It is a great honour to make the Dean’s list, and one that I would not have achieved without the superb supervision of my research by Professor Henk Berkman in the Department of Accounting and Finance.”

Hamish plans to head to Singapore in the next couple of months to join some former work colleagues in a new global macro hedge fund they have established. He will maintain close connections with the academic community through some additional work with a university in Singapore.